Naval Doctrine...From the Sea   [open pdf - 71KB]

"Following their victories at Santiago in the Spanish- American War, Rear Admirals William T. Sampson and Winfield Scott Schley, USN [United States Navy], engaged in public debates and discussions over their conduct during the Battle of Santiago (July 1898). Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera had outmaneuvered the American North Atlantic Squadron and managed to enter the harbor at Santiago, Cuba, where he maintained a fleet-in-being. The Americans attempted to and eventually drew out the fleet as a result of joint actions taken ashore and at sea, resulting in a battle in which Cervera was defeated. The public debate over how the battle should have been fought went on for years and necessitated a Presidential order for it to cease. The acrimonious manner in which tactics and doctrine were questioned following the Spanish-American War poisoned the well in the U.S. Navy for subsequent frank and open debate and discussions of a doctrinal nature. Indeed, one can conclude that the Sampson-Schley debates virtually precluded the use of the word 'doctrine' within the U.S. Navy for many years and biased generations of officers from claiming that doctrine could exist for the Navy."

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